At first it might seem this piece is about how to be pleasing but it is really about how trying to please others all the time can be disadvantageous and counter productive. It places the onus on you to please others rather than yourself. In a relationship this can be a recipe for suppressed resentment and dissatisfaction. It can also lead to passive aggression: that is showing your unhappiness and discontentment in a roundabout and distorted way.
Early approval for selfless behaviour
If as a child your nurturing and pleasing attributes got more approval than all the other parts of yourself then it is understandable that you will attempt to maintain those behaviours that brought approval especially if it came hand in hand with feeling wanted. That comes as a cost though. Where are you and your needs in all the pleasing of your partner and others? Trying to make everyone else happy can be exhausting. It is surprising that those who do might feel shortchanged and discontented and experience sneaking feelings of ‘what about me’?
Is it fear of not being liked?
When pressed for an explanation of why it is important to please others rather than oneself, many will say ‘because you should’, and when pressed for naming who decides what ‘should’ be done, religion is quoted, or phrases like ‘it just is’, or ‘it is what I was told’ or just surprised looks implying: isn’t it obvious? Well no. Is it because you are afraid of not being liked? Do you think you are so important others can’t manage without your altruism? Who is going to look after you while you’re busy looking after everyone else?
“Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began” Quote by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
If you start off a relationship with bending over backwards to please a friend or your would be partner you are setting yourself up for long term disappointment. At what point do you intend to change and start asking for what you want? After the idealisation phase? After the wedding? When your resentment is so marked it can’t be ignored any more? Why not start off the way you want to continue?
That is ‘I’m happy to do this for you, but I also need to do this for me? It might save a lot of heartbreak and misunderstanding down the track.
Standing up for yourself
What makes you think that pleasing yourself precludes having loving and friendly relations with others? If you don’t stand up for yourself, get at least some of what you need to function effectively, feel that you receive as well as give, how are you going to live a balanced life? How are you going to experience satisfying relationships?